Blogging …

My intention when I first started blogging was purely to document our farm – understanding its cycles, what produces when and what grows well and doesn’t.  But then as I read other blogs I decided to make mine public as well with the intention of updating weekly.  How hard can it be to sit down at my computer and type once a week about happenings in the farm.  There is actually a lot of stuff going on so there is plenty of material to write about.  But alas, theory and practice are always different, and it’s been more challenging than I thought.  Truth be told, it’s not that hard if I just make a commitment.  It is interesting to note, if you look at some of the blogs I follow, many if not most haven’t kept up with theirs either.   So I know I’m not alone in my efforts.  But I’m going to recommit to at minimum weekly blogging (along with other commitments, 10K steps a day, daily exercise, limiting processed and sugary foods … the list could go on).

So today … FIGS



We planted a number of fig trees a few years ago, but the birds always get to most of them before we do, and our yield hasn’t been large.  This year, however, is a different story.  Our figs are going off, and we have lots of them.  We have many different varieties, blue mountain, brown turkey, Kadota, and small honey figs.  The picture above shows the small honey figs, brown turkey, and the Kadota.  We have more varieties, but we haven’t done a good job of remembering what they are (hence the idea of the blog to keep track of these things when we get them).  All the figs are really good, but those small honey figs are so so sweet, they’re to die for.  This year we placed bird repellant discs on the fig trees in an effort to divert birds. We have a few different types, and they all seem to be working well.  We ordered ours from Amazon.



This year we planted number of European figs in a newer section of the garden.  They’re too young to produce at this time, but the trees are growing well, and we might get some next year.  We planted black Madeira Portuguese figs, honey sweet fig – a dark Portuguese variety, blue mountain, Genovese Nero fig, and a variety of a giant fig.  We’ll see what variety does well, and plant more of those.   On the Big Island there are 10 of the 13 climate zones located here.  We live in a Mediterranean region here along this section of the Hamakua coast.  Although it’s not a true Mediterranean climate, the classification is close, so we fit into it.  Figs should do well in this region, and this year it appears that is true.


Home Again

It’s been a few weeks since my last entry.  We went to Boulder to see my daughter graduate with her Master’s Degree.  We spent about a week and half  there.  The weather was beautiful and warm for most of the trip, but the last two days we got a snow storm.  The snow was beautiful, aesthetically speaking, however practically speaking it was COLD, and we lost power for a bit.  Overall the trip was wonderful.  I’m happy to be home, back to our little homestead.  It’s clear summer is right around the corner, it is has been hot.

So what’s growing right now …

lots of tomatoes (I’m super excited about this!), white mountain apples, Anna apples (we only have about a 10 on all the trees combined), figs, asparagus, blackberries, pumpkins, papayas, lychee (mostly from my in-law’s yard!) and … vanilla!  Our vanilla plant flowered!  I’m not sure how old it is, but we never thought we’d see flowers.  The bug that pollinated vanilla orchids is no longer around, so vanilla has to be hand pollinated.  The flower opens for one day only, so you have to catch it at just the right time.  I’ve hand pollinated about 6 flowers so far.  Let me rephrase that, I’ve attempted to hand pollinate 6 flowers.  I’m not sure if any took, you have to be super gentle.  So here’s the issue, our orchid plant is growing up two royal palm trees we have, and the flowers are really high up.  AND, I’m scared of heights.  Between David and I, I watched the youtube videos of how to pollinate the flower, so the job at this point is mine.  I think I’m doing it right, but it’s a really fragile job, and you can lose the pollen so easily.  We’ll see what happens.  If we get any vanilla beans, I’ll be excited.

Here’s a recent harvest from a quick morning trip to the garden.



You can see some of the orchid flowers just above the end of the ladder.  That’s a 20 foot ladder although it’s not all the way up.  We didn’t plan for the orchid to grow that way, it just did.  The picture doesn’t do it justice, it’s pretty amazing.